Our ultimate goal is total liberation for all human and non-human animals. Every human and non-human animal has the right to live free and without being an object of harm or exploitation. We recognise that there will need to be a significant shift in mainstream thinking to achieve this.
As individuals, our actions can only influence other individuals, and only change behaviour. But as communities, we can begin to change culture and shape new ideas. Social change requires a strong core community, and this is something which we must foster.
Diversity in our movement is key. We strive to be pro-intersectional and inclusive in all of our activities and actions. Human or non-human, it is not our characteristics that make us matter but rather our very existence does. To be truly free from oppression, we must stop all of its forms. This means total rejection of all oppressive behaviour including, but not limited to, speciesism, racism, ableism, sexism, classism, fascism and ageism. We recognise that one form of oppression can not be rejected through means which require the oppression of others. This includes violence and aggressive behaviour.
We acknowledge veganism as a social justice movement and as a step towards the rejection of speciesism and the elimination of animal use. But we recognise that veganism is not an ends in itself. In order to achieve total animal liberation, we must unite and organise to speak up for non-human animals through creative, non-violent activism.
Our natural allies are other social justice movements. Through experiencing and fighting oppression, these groups are in the best position to recognise and point out oppressive behaviour. We must endeavour to enable them to share our views on animal rights and veganism, thereby breaking the white, racist, sexist and fascist stereotypes that have been allowed to develop because of the actions of many mainstream animal rights groups. It is important that we listen to these groups and not expect a platform in their communities. Instead, we must invite them to educate us, enabling us to learn together. Our intention is to strengthen and support, and not appropriate, other communities. We must be mindful of this.
Our goal of total liberation requires the rejection of welfarism and the focus on the abolition of animal use and exploitation: we do not advocate more comfortable cages; we want to empty those cages. Neither do we encourage reductionism: we aim to cease harm to others as practicably as possible and not at our convenience.
The success of our movement requires momentum, growth and continuous planning. We are inspired through inspiring others, and this provides all the motivation we need to progress. But the success of our advocacy requires us to be open to criticism, be self aware and acknowledge our individual and collective privileges. We must be accountable for our actions and, where necessary, acknowledge and publicly apologise for mistakes made. Transparency and honesty are essential; spreading misinformation is reckless and damaging to our group and the wider movement.
In our actions, materials and interactions we need to remain positive and calm, even in difficult situations. We must be able to listen to others and appreciate their perspectives, recognising that people are inherently good and that they have been raised in a society which encourages oppressive behaviour and rewards conformity. We are the positive examples to help them recognise these problems and show empathy.
Vegan Actions North East will always be grassroots, non profit, volunteer run. We will never have paid positions and will not contradict our principles for the purposes of fundraising.